Instagram Fakery or Just Foolishness?

As I am what is now apparently dubbed an "influencer" I am very aware that people may be influenced by my lifestyle choices and like many others in my business will often present the best of myself.
madmumof7 in field

You don't have to be an influencer to want to choose the best pictures of yourself to share. I'm sure pretty much everyone has deleted pictures which leave them looking like a wookiee having a bad hair day but maybe influencers spend more time thinking about light, angles and what's behind them. I'm very lucky to have this field behind our house which makes a nice backdrop for images.

However despite being in the "influencer" industry as a professional blogger (as in this is my actual job) I have posted lots of images of myself online complete with wonky, rabbity teeth, grey hair and mummy tummy. This is me. It's taken 50 years and 7 children to create this bod and frankly without surgery and a good, no, great dentist this is the face and body I am left with.

Here's an example of some of my online realism. This image was taken for a review for a client who sells snorkel gear. No. I'm not naked. It was a strapless bikini and a bad selfie angle.

madmumof7 snorkel

This week I witnessed something during a day trip to not-so-sunny Southsea, Portsmouth (UK) which initially made me laugh but has left me thinking. Always a worry. Let me tell you what I witnessed.

So picture the scene. It's late afternoon and the sun has gone in to be replaced by scudding clouds, a chilly wind and big fat raindrops. The sky is grey and the sea is that grey-green colour Brits will recognise as normal apart from the three hot sunny days a year we get if we are lucky.

To give you a better idea, here's a picture I took of my friend and her young daughter minutes before the rain drove us off the beach.

Beach at Clarence Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth

Because of aforementioned rain I sheltered with my friends on Clarence Esplanade under a gorgeous wrought iron shelter designed to let those visiting our coast enjoy the bracing sea air without getting wet or blown away.

We were waiting to watch the hovercraft arrive from the Isle of Wight and soak the tourists who gather near the fence to watch the spectacle of this amazing craft come ashore. Always a hoot.

Then we spotted a young woman starting to remove her jeans while a male friend holding a tray of chips (fries to my US readers) and a mobile phone looked on.

There's a red flag flying and a big notice stating it's too dangerous to swim so we were intrigued to see if she was going to go in the water anyway.

Still wearing her jacket she waded into the sea. From her reaction we can tell it is as cold as we imagined it would be. She removed her jacket and hurled it towards the gravelly beach.

Still holding onto his chips her male friend filmed or photographed her for around five minutes as she cavorted, posed and "swam" in the freezing ocean. Then she got out, grabbed her clothes and the two of them wandered off.

I remarked that maybe if I demonstrated that kind of dedication to populating my Instagram account maybe I would have more followers. Although I think fewer people would be keen to see me rolling around in the surf in a skimpy swimsuit than the slim, tanned young thing we witnessed doing just that.

Coincidentally this morning I spotted reports that a popular travel blogger had admitted photoshopping her images on the 'gram, adding a blue sky and fluffy clouds to improve the actual sky. An eagle eyed follower spotted the cloud formation was exactly the same in many of her images.

I wondered perhaps if the woman we spotted in Portsmouth planned to photoshop in palm trees, white sand and a sunny sky to her less than tropical beach images.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of Pompey (Portsmouth's nickname) and have spent some lovely sunny days there crabbing, riding the Gosport ferry (pic below) and occasionally even braving a dip in the sea. But it isn't the Bahamas, not matter how many filters you apply.

Gosport Ferry, Portsmouth

So what do you think? Was the scene we witnessed a deliberate attempt at Instagram fakery or was it just a foolish tourist determined to make the most of her day trip to the beach? And if she was planning to photoshop her images is that OK?

Do people really believe that every picture they see online is real? Or should there be a new hashtag to declare that you've fiddled with the pic to make it look better for the benefit of impressionable young minds and those who end up feeling sad, mad or bad about the life they think they could or should be living because of what they see online?

The use of #AD #PAID and #Sponsored is rightly becoming more widely used on all platforms to inform readers/viewers that the person posting has been paid or rewarded in some way to share the content.

Should we introduce new hashtags? Maybe  #tweaked #photoshopped #editedimage or #filtered should be added to content so we are absolutely transparent about what we've done to our images before we post them?

Whatever the girl in the sea was up to and why, to a certain extent I applaud her bravery. It made me cold just to watch her.

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